Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, July 15, 1908

Chaba Camp July 15 Showers A.M. A move of only 2¾ hrs. took us to the outlet. This side of the lake for about half a mile up has been burnt, as well as the whole valley below, as far as anyone has seen. We camped just at the the corner by the outlet. A fine view up the lake. The outlet looked deep but perfectly smooth water and not too rapid. We cast our eyes on it and I said I hoped we should swim just for the fun of doing it, --- but soon changed my opinion! Providentially, as it seemed afterward, I, in the process of scanning the mountains opposite with field glasses for geological phenomena, discovered goat, two big ones and a kid, and presently four more hove in sight, two kids and two big ones. U. was of course filled with ambition to go after them and get one of the kids (we know how tough the old ones are and don't long for them any more). All four men sat down in a row for some time, leaving their work and everything, and passed around the field glasses. We laughed to see them, they are always saying we are so excited when we see game. And presently U. came and said he was going. W. went to get him a horse and he stuffed a change of clothes, the field glasses and my litter camera into the rucksack and started off on Ricks, his saddle horse. We went out to see him cross, but not expecting any great show, I did not go far enough to see him start in, beneath the steep bank on this side and was waiting to see him appear in midstream, when M. came back from where she could see what was going on below, looking rather white about the gills and said "he's off his horse and swimming back to shore," and they presently appeared, dripping and shivering, and somewhat perplexed at the course of events. Ricks is supposed to be an excellent water horse, probably the best in the bunch, but as soon as he lost his footing and struck out into the current, he keeled over backwards and dumped U off. U. was not to be foiled like that, however, Ricks was turned loose again and W. went to catch up another, choosing Dandy this time. They started in higher up stream just at the edge where it flows out of the lake. M. doses not like to watch that sort of thing when she knows it, but the rest of us were all there, somewhat excited, although we had great confidence in Dandy's aquatic performancees, remembering all his stunts last year in the Athabasca. U. stepped in the edge of the water to make rifle, etc., secure, then in. Dandy did not want to go at all, tried to turn around as soon as he was beyond his depth. U. made him go on, and then things began to happen so quickly that you could not tell how or why. Dandy was floundering around, U. was off. He hung on to the saddle horn for a few seconds, then swam for shore, and poor Dandy was kicking and thrashing around desperately, mostly head under and feet in the air. W. said "there's a dead horse, you could buy him for a nickle now," We thought he had got one of his feet over the halter shank. He struggled for what seemed a long time, and I expected to see him give up and go floating down stream, but he managed to get right side up again, and spluttering and snorting, with ears laid back, hit out for the opposite shore and crawled feebly out and stood there dejected and panting. U. came dripping up more surprised than ever; but by this time we were were all convinced that there was somthing queer about the current, probably a strong undertow, so to speak; for Dandy's halter shank had had nothing to do with his troubles, he had just been bowled over when he got into deep water. U. wanted to swim over himself to bring Dandy back, but W. said they would knock together a raft of a few logs that two of then could row. So everyone got busy. Fortunately there were plenty of dead trees close at hand. While they were chopping like mad, the horses seized the opportunity to hit the back trail and disappeared in the distance, with a determined air, as if they knew this was chance not to missed. M. went after them, however, just as determined, and brought them galumping back, and she and Mr. B. and I hobbled the ones who had been left free, enticing them to be good with a little salt. Then, of cours, they refused to be driven out of camp, stuck their noses in everything, and Baldy got hold of one of W.'s shirts, carried it away and almost swallowed one sleeve before we could rescue it. We made up the fire and dried out a few of the garments that had come to grief in the shuffle, to have them ready for the next act , whatever it might be. And after about an hour and a half's work, at 6 P.M., the raft was ready. Dandy meanwhile had not stirred from the spot in the bushes one foot from the water's edge, where he had landed, only occasionally turning his head lanquidly when the other horses came slinking and clanging into camp. U. and H. went over on the raft, Dandy watchd them coming, they took a wide circle out into the lake to avoid the current, and before they reached him, his spirits rose sufficiently for him to think of tasting what the grass around him was like. They took saddle and everything off him and tried to start him across still nearer the lake. He was not anzious for more swimming and escaped, but after a little chasing he gave in and started into the water himself, but much lower down and nearer the rapids. We watched him anxiously. We had taken Fox and gone down to the river's edge on this side to give him an idea where to head for. He swam pretty straight across, but evidently had to work hard, and swam very low in the water, in spite of having nothing to carry. So the moral of all that is that you never can tell what those waters are like till you try them. And as W. said, he should not have hesitated a minute to swim a horse across there, and he cannot swim himself, and he would no doubt to have been the first to go in tomorrow. So he said "if I had, I bet I should have reached the Athabasca before any of you people." We could still see the goat playing about on the mountain side when we went to bed.


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